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Learn more about East London’s infamous and famous people. From Jack The Ripper to Alf Garnett.

History of The Stratford Martyrs

If you visit the churchyard of the Church of St John the Evangelist in Stratford, you can see a memorial to the Stratford Martyrs. According to some, this marks the approximate location where 13 people were burned at the stake by Queen Mary I because of their religious beliefs.

The Stratford Martyrs – The Marian Persecutions

By the time Mary inherited the throne from her brother,

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Posted in East End People


Joseph Merrick, the Elephant Man.

Although not born in the East End, Joseph Merrick spent much of his life in the area and died in the Royal London Hospital on Whitechapel Road. Known for much of his life, and in popular culture ever since, as the “Elephant Man”, Merrick suffered from an unknown condition that left him severely deformed.

Famous East End Characters the “Elephant Man”

Exhibited as a freak for much of his adult life,

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Posted in East End People


Ikey Solomon, Famous East London Characters

The East End of London has had its fair share of characters over the years. Some are famous in good ways; others are more infamous. Ikey Solomon, a well-known figure in the Houndsditch area in Victorian times, certainly qualifies on the infamous scale.

Infamous Ikey Solomon

Some people even think that Dickens modelled the character of Fagin in Oliver Twist on this well-known criminal.

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Posted in East End People


Clement Attlee Prime Minister from 1945 to 1951

Clement Attlee was Prime Minister of Great Britain from 1945 to 1951. Although born in Putney, Attlee had a lot of connections with the East End, particularly in Limehouse and Stepney. He lived in the area from the early part of the century until 1922.

Clement Attlee’s Life in the East End of London

He began his political career in these areas,

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Posted in East End People


Isambard Kingdom Brunel and East London

The famous engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel has a couple of close connections with the East End of London. He worked on the world’s first underwater tunnel, the Thames Tunnel, with his father Marc Isambard Brunel.


This tunnel crossed under the Thames from Wapping to Rotherhithe. In his later career, he also built and launched one of the world’s greatest ships,

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Posted in East End People


Bryant and May Strike Bow East London

During the 19th century the match manufacturer, Bryant and May, was one of the main employers in Bow in the East End of London. Although playing with matches is, as we all know, dangerous; at that time just making matches could be deadly. Most of the people working in the factory were women, known as match girls.

The Bryant and May Match Girls Strike

During its most busy period,

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Posted in East End People


The London Burkers, Bodysnatching

Shoreditch may be most well known for its mention in the Oranges and Lemons nursery rhyme, but the area has also had some grisly moments over the years, like most of the East End of London. In the 1830s, it gained some infamy as the home of the London Burkers, a group of body snatchers who tried to make a less than honest living by creating corpses to sell.

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Posted in East End People


Daniel Mendoza and Bethnal Green

One of the most famous residents of Bethnal Green was the boxer, Daniel Mendoza, who was also known as “Mendoza the Jew”. Mendoza was born in Aldgate but settled in Bethnal Green, where he lived for over thirty years, boxed at the height of his fame and where he raised his family.


He also helped put the area on the map as a centre of boxing excellence.

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Posted in East End People


William Booth Founder of The Salvation Army

William Booth is best known as the founder of the Salvation Army. Although he wasn’t born in London, he did many good works in the East End, helping improve the living conditions of many people living in Whitechapel.

William Booth, the Salvation Army and Whitechapel

He also founded the Salvation Army on Whitechapel Road.

Booth was born in Nottingham in 1829.

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Posted in East End People


Sylvia Pankhurst and The Suffragette Movement

Although she was born in Manchester, Sylvia Pankhurst had strong connections to the East End of London, particularly in Bow. A leading member of the women’s suffrage movement in the early 1900s, she, her mother Emmeline and her sister Christabel, fought tirelessly for women’s rights and equality.


Sylvia’s work in Bow and the East End in general, however, did more than simply help women;

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Posted in East End People


Recent Comments

  • Cliff Kelly on V1 and V2 Rocket Attacks in East LondonWe lived at Cave Rd Plaistow. In July 1944 . My parents decided to have a weeks holiday, at my elder sisters home at Cambridge. Neighbours made the usual comments
  • Mohmud Mohamed on The History of Beckton Gas WorksI worked for British Gas in the 1980/1990s and we had US Ambassador's visit to the Becton Gas Works, I think it was as result of filming tbe Full Metal
  • Ash M on History of Canning Town East LondonHi Malcolm You mentioned that your grandmother cleaned a Jewish lady's house in Gant's Hill...was her name Esther?
  • Paul Spraggins on The History of Beckton Gas WorksMy Gt. Grandfather tipped the waste and helped form the Beckton Alps. Should you need further information contact me. Somewhere I have a photo of him driving his train.
  • Jim Mersh on History of The East London CockneySorry you translate it that way. On that basis only people born at 9 o'clock were ever Cockneys then. The reality was being born within the sound of Bow bells
  • Jim Mersh on History of The East London CockneyI am 67. Born in Westland Place Shoreditch 1949. Very proud to be a true Cockney. Now live in Nottingham but have very fond memories of life in Tsplow Street
  • stanley kaye on Poplar Upper North Street School Disasteri Have spoke to Jacks son and his nephews a few weeks ago can you please email me so we can have a chat email uppernorthstreetschool1917@gmail.com regards stan
  • Robert Putt on Poplar Upper North Street School DisasterI attended Upper North Street School from 1934 until the outbreak of war in September 1939, when my sister and I were evacuated to Oxford from there. We lived in
  • Robert best on Second World War Bombing Raid South Hallsville SchoolI was 15 months old when my father was in Hallsville School when it was bombed. He was a RADAR man from Plymouth, in the Artillery, and he and number
  • stanley kaye on Poplar Upper North Street School Disasterhi we have been hearing many stories like yours if i find any thing i will let you know please email me what ever you know uppernorthstreetschool1917@gmail.com please thanks stan

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